March of Film starts tomorrow – If you’ve ever wanted to learn or develop your photography, this could be your chance. I’ve chatted a bit about film photography before on my blog and this is the next chapter.
March of film is a theme-based project with two simple goals: To spark creativity and to keep film alive. The concept is pretty straight forward, on the 1st of March (Tomorrow) they will publish 31 themes on their website. Then over the course of the month you can choose one or as many as you’d like to do. Then grab a film camera and a roll of film and go shoot and experiment!
Once the month is over you can scan your film in and share what you did with others. I think that engaging with even a few of the themes will help develop you as a photographer especially whilst using film.
I’ve found out mostly by experimenting but using a film camera severely limits features you’d otherwise rely on whilst using a phone or digital camera. This forces people to take care with what they are shooting and think about it.
Main reasons to choose film over digital:
Number of shots / Price – A standard roll of film has a limited number of shots (either 24 / 36 exposure) and it costs money to both buy and develop the film, this makes every shot valuable. When I go to photograph on a digital camera I end up trigger happy and taking hundreds of photos. Film forces you to slow down, look at what you are trying to photograph and think of the best way of portraying it in 1 or 2 shots.
Delayed Results – You can’t see if you got a good photo straight away so you have to make sure you get the best out of every photo. In the digital photography world there is a phenomenon call ‘Chimping – the habit of checking every photo on the camera display (LCD) immediately after capture’. In film photography you can’t chimp, so just have to deal with it and know whether you’ve got the shot. Finally seeing the photos is extremely exciting, especially if done through the post. Film photographers will know it feels like Christmas every time you get a new roll back after being developed.
Physical – Film photography is very physical: Loading the camera, firing the shutter, winding the film and the development process. On top of this you end up with print which make great decorations to a room or given as gifts. Digital photography has lost a lot of this and it’s kind of upsetting that so many of my digital photos will sit on my hard drive ,never to make it into the physical world in print.
Colours / Aesthetic – This argument still rages on, Digital vs Film. Digital makes it easy to shoot and learn but for me film takes the prize when dealing with the end results. I see a living element to photos which I’ve taken with film – I love the idea that the light which produced the photo has physically been captured in the film, instead of just being a digital representation. Film has an amazing array of colours and a certain vintage look, with so many different types of films you get to try different thing and learn what works. I’ve found searching for groups on Flickr is a great way to find out what you like, give Portra, Ektar and Tri-X a try for starters.
I don’t have a film camera
My recommendation would be to get one, a disposable one or hit up eBay.
For the super lazy among you I have found two apps which can give you a similar feel to film. You can see that I’m stressing the point, these don’t come close to the full film experience:
White Album – On their site they wrote “It’s like a disposable camera, for your iPhone”. Once you’ve captured the shots you can choose to buy a set of prints which get delivered to your door. I plan to give this a go at some point over the course of March. [Download]
1-Hour Photo – I’ve used this app since Christmas and absolutely love it! Concept is again similar with delayed gratification of not being able to see your photos straight away.
How could having to wait an hour to see your pictures actually make photos better? You’ll be surprised how this changes everything. – 1- Hour Photo
Simply put you shoot photos and are forced to wait 1 hour before seeing them. [Download]
At the end of the day, get out there and take photos, be creative!
I find so much joy in shooting photos and I hope you can too, I plan to post my themes / resulting pictures at some point in April and write a follow-up post. Feel free to ask any questions below and I’ll try my best to answer them. Matt
P.S – If you know me in person and want to borrow a film camera, drop me a message and we can sort something out.